Brabantse-Pijl winner Grace Brown made it into a select lead group in the final of today’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, before attacking in the closing kilometres to finish in eighth place, kick starting Team BikeExchange’s European season campaign.
The race significantly split after the cobbled Molenberg with 38km to go, as SD Works set a fierce pace up and over the top and continued to put the hammer down for the following kilometres on the narrow, twisty roads forcing the peloton to shatter to pieces.
Multiple race favourites suddenly found themselves caught out and eventually the elastic snapped, as the lead group formed ahead. Team BikeExchange had Amanda Spratt and Brown represented in the move and the group’s advantage continued to increase as they headed towards Ninove.
Demi Volering (SD Worx) attacked and led solo into the Kemmelberg, but the lead group swallowed her up again on the following flat section before the race winning move was launched by her teammate Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) on the final climb of the day, the Bosberg.
Brown, unwilling to wait, began to attack to try and rider herself onto the podium, but to no avail as all moves were neutralised. Using everything she had left, Brown sprinted into take eighth, a solid start to the classics campaign.
“Today was a hard race, it was a shock to the system to come in to our first Belgium cobbled Classic. It was a really hectic race and although we did ok in the end, there is a lot to improve on, it is our first race together for the European season and I think we will go onwards and upwards from here.
“I am not quite at my top level yet, but I felt like I could race in the final and did some attacks and for the sprint I got a little bit pushed out of position in the roundabout and I had to jump early to get back to the front group and then the sprint was already happening. It was a really long sprint for me, and I couldn’t quite maintain the speed to come around anyone at the end.”
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2021 – Results:
1. Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) 3:21:00
2. Emma Cecile Norsgaard (Movistar Team) +0:23
3. Amy Pieters (SD Worx) ST
8. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) ST
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.